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The Trace’s Philadelphia bureau is part of our local journalism initiative, which seeks to cover gun violence at the community level, with the full participation of those who are most affected by the crisis. We are doing that through a mix of stories and engagement journalism. Here, you’ll find coverage from Mensah Dean, our Philadelphia staff writer and a veteran Philly reporter who was recently a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and engagement reporter Afea Tucker, a native Philadelphian and long-time contributor to the Philadelphia Tribune.

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Lead Reporters

  • Mensah M. Dean

    Before joining The Trace, Mensah was a staff writer on the Justice & Injustice team at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he focused on gun violence, corruption and wrongdoing in the public and private sectors for five years. Mensah also covered criminal courts, public schools and city government for the Philadelphia Daily News, the Inquirer's sister publication. A native of Washington, D.C., Mensah began his career at The Washington Times. His freelance work has appeared in People and Vibe magazines. In 2022, Mensah was part of a team of Inquirer reporters who were Pulitzer Prize finalists for explanatory reporting for their yearlong chronicling of the impact of gun violence on Philadelphia. In 2019, he was named print journalist of the year by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. In 2017 he received the Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence and a $10,000 prize from Morgan State University's School of Global Journalism and Communication for writing a series are articles about a man who, at the time, had spent 37 years in solitary confinement. He graduated from Bowie State University in Maryland.
  • Afea Tucker

    Afea has a deep love for her city and its diverse communities. In addition to her passion for writing and helping others, Afea is a self-proclaimed foodie. As part of her job, she oversees Up the Block, a resource and information hub for Philadelphians who have been affected by gun violence. Before joining The Trace, Afea was a veteran media professional and freelance journalist whose work had been published by The Philadelphia Tribune, WHYY, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and other news organizations. Afea is a Temple University alumna, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

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